All I Want to Do Is Play My Old Intellivision Games

Pitfall Harry Contemplating the Game Board Ahead
Screenshot of Pitfall from the Activision App

It started at dinner. I was washing dishes, and my cousin was drying. We were talking about easter eggs, which obviously brought up Adventure, the first video game (that I know of) to contain an easter egg.

“I play it sometimes,” she admitted.


How did she play it sometimes? She didn’t have her childhood Atari anymore.

She told me that she had purchased a retro gaming system that had all the games pre-loaded onto a chip. She plugged it into her television and could play her old favorites. Well, the old favorites that the gaming system makers thought to upload to the machine.

(It didn’t have my favorite game, E.T.. Yeah, I know everyone else thinks it’s the worst game of all-time. I freakin’ loved that game.)

They also made a machine like that for Intellivision, but it wasn’t as well-maintained as the Atari one. At the very least, the reviews I read online made it sound like it was hit-or-miss when it came to working with televisions. I wanted to try it, but I didn’t want to invest $40 in something that may or may not work.

Still I wanted Intellivision games. That was our gaming system growing up in the ’80s (until we got a Nintendo), whereas my cousin had the Atari and Colecovision. Between our two houses, we had every major video game covered.

I opted to download the Activision app on the iPad and download the complete pack of Intellivision games. I also downloaded the Atari app and their 99 games so I could have Adventure. And for good measure, I downloaded the Midway Arcade app and their games, too, because they have Joust.

Are the controls the same? Not at all. But for the first time in years, Pitfall Harry is jumping on the crocodile eyes to get over the river, and I’m rounding up horses again with Stampede.

My scores are low. Like really low. Like humbling low. I used to take a Polaroid of the screen after I played Pitfall to remember really good scores, so I still have a record of what I could achieve back when I was 10. I’m averaging a fraction of that score.

But it is so nice to be back with my video game friends, and to even make new ones. I never played Keystone Kapers as a kid, but I’m loving trying to figure it out.

Best money I’ve spent all week.

What was your favorite Atari or Intellivision game?

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